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Excitement as West Ankole Diocese Gets New Bishop

The House of Bishops on Thursday elected Rev.Canon Johnson Twinomujuni, the Principal at Uganda Bible Institute in Mbarara, in the neighbouring Ankole Diocese, as bishop of West Ankole. Rev. Arthur Atwiine, West Ankole Diocesan Secretary, describes it as best news that the diocese has received this year. He says that he has for long known the bishop-elect as a great preacher with the ability of uniting people.
Rev.Canon Johnson Twinomujuni

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There is excitement in West Ankole Diocese after news filtered in that the diocese has received a new Bishop.

The House of Bishops on Thursday elected Rev.Canon  Johnson  Twinomujuni, the Principal at Uganda Bible Institute in Mbarara, in the neighbouring Ankole Diocese, as bishop of West Ankole. Bishop-elect Twinomujuni will be installed on May 28th to replace retired Bishop Yona Mwesigwa Katoneene who retired in October last year after heading the diocese for over 10 years.

On the 2nd of October 2016, Bishop Katoneene handed over the leadership of the diocese to Archbishop Stanley Ntagali who has been caretaker bishop. This came on the backdrop of wrangles involving Bishop Katoneene and a section of Christians from Sheema Archdeaconry. 

During his tenure, Bishop Katoneene was accused of among other things interfering with the running of Ankole Western Institute of Science and Technology (AWIST). He was also accused of influencing the election of members of the diocesan synod and the Diocesan council so as to have a say on who succeeds him.

It is this allegation that delayed the election of the new bishop who should have been installed in October last year. Bishop Katoneene handed over office without a substantive bishop prompting the Archbishop of Uganda to take over the Episcopal Jurisdiction of the diocese.

Now Christians say the election of Canon Twinomujuni is a relief since the Diocese has been appearing as if it had been abandoned.

Niweaimebyoona Emanuel Junior, a Christian from Sheema district, says that they are excited by the news of the new Bishop. He says this relieves the Archbishop of the heavy burden since he had to visit the area to conduct several activities yet he has a busy schedule.

Reverend Ben Jackson Bitungirwe, a chaplain at Rwatukwire primary school in Bushenyi district, says that the new Bishop will foster unity since he is from a different diocese and has not been party to the previous challenges in West Ankole Diocese. The bishop-elect was born and has worked in Ankole Diocese, but not in West Ankole. 

Rev. Arthur Atwiine, West Ankole Diocesan Secretary, describes it as best news that the diocese has received this year. He says that he has for long known the bishop-elect as a great preacher with the ability of uniting people. 

Atwiine adds that being from another diocese will be an added advantage to create since the new bishop will not be encumbered by the wrangles that characterised the Bishop Katoneene era. He adds that the clergy and Christians are ready to welcome and support the new Bishop.

//Cue in: “Abantu bariyo nibatabarusya.....

Cue out:....Kashaari omuri Mbarara.”//

This is the second time that West Ankole Diocese is getting a Bishop from a different Diocese. 

Just like Twinomujuni, the first Bishop of West Ankole, Right Reverend Yoramu Bamunoba, was from Kashari in Mbarara in Ankole Diocese and is praised to have laid a firm foundation for the then young Diocese.

Who is Johnson Twinomujuni?

The election of Canon Johnson Twinomujuni as the 4th Bishop of West Ankole Diocese will be seen by many as an attempt by the Church of Uganda to heal the wounds in the diocese that has had no peace in the last four years.

Since October 2016, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali has been the caretaker Bishop of the diocese following the retirement of Yona Katoneene and delays to elect his successor.

In his 19 years as a priest, Canon Twinomujuni has not worked in West Ankole. This in many respects makes him an outsider in the internal affairs of the 42-year-old diocese.

He was born and has worked in neighbouring Ankole Diocese. In 2002 served as the Diocesan Missions Coordinator until 2004 when he was appointed to Uganda Bible Institute, a theological college he helped establish, and where he currently serves as Principal.

Canon Twinomujuni was born in 1968 in Muko, Rwebishekyo, Rwanyamahembe, Kashaari, Mbarara District. He was born again on 15th August 1986 during a mission at his church in the school holiday. This was while he served the missioners lunch in his parents' home.

Information from the Province of the Church of Uganda shows that after completing Senior Four, Twinomujuni began full-time ministry as a Youth Worker in Rutooma Archdeaconry, during which time he also completed a Certificate in Theology at Kinoni Divinity College.

In 1992 he completed teacher training at Bishop Stuart Core Primary Teachers College (PTC). It is at this college where he also met his future wife, Joy. They were married in 1992 and both began teaching at Rutooma Integrated Primary School.

In 1994, Twinomujuni travelled to Malawi and enrolled at the African Bible College where he earned a First Class Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Studies, with a minor in Communications. 

He returned to Uganda and was ordained a deacon in December 1998 and a priest a year later. Twinomujuni returned to Bishop Stuart PTC as a Chaplain, as well as serving Kibingo Parish as the parish priest.

Canon Twinomujuni holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education obtained from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, USA in 2002.

In 2013, Canon Twinomujuni completed his second Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from Uganda Christian University.

Canon Twinomujuni has also served as Chaplain at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, a part-time lecturer at Bishop Stuart University, and many other positions of leadership in Ankole Diocese and the Province.

Canon Twinomujuni and wife, Joy Twinomujuni, have six children.

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